Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A tame ride to the station....

Got up for 5am and rode the mountain bike to the station along the roads. I took the MTB as it is a little hardier on the train than the carbon frame of the road bike – and doesn’t mind other people dumping their £50 steeds on top of it. But by god it was dull. Even with a throbbing leg I found the hills that the route puts in front of you rather tame or indeed flat! There was no mud, rocks or sudden turns. I reached 50kmph without even noticing – on knobbly tyres. It took 25 mins to cover the distance and I warmed down for 5 mins – so managed the full 30 mins of training – but only burned 290 kcal, average HR was only 130 and I simply feel that I haven’t done enough – probably because I haven’t.


I realise I need to be a little careful – my right knee and shin are both still pretty swollen and a little painful – but seem to cope under load, but I so enjoyed the weekend and am desperate to find some more mud to play in! Unfortunately I am in London today and I very much doubt there is much opportunity to do so on the ride back to St Pancras! Ah well – I guess I will just have to wait for another weekend away or make do with Grafham water and take my kids with me….

Monday, March 30, 2009

This weeks training schedule

Day Hours Details Actual
Monday 0 Day off - injury. 0
Tuesday 0.5 Ride to station from home
0.5 Ride home from station
Wednesday 1 Lunchtime endurance run 5-8km
Thursday 0.5 1500m Swim, steady pace.
Friday 0.5 Ride to station from home
0.5 Ride home from station
Saturday 0.5 1500m Swim. 400m warm up. 50m fast, 50m slow. Alternate.
1 Core work.
Sunday 1 Run - fartlek training.
1 Cycle trainer  
TOTAL 7   0

Saturdays swim will be speed training – 50m fast, 50m slow repeat for 200m then rest for 30 seconds and repeat. Ideally I will cover 1500m – but this is time based – so if I don’t complete that in 30 mins then that is fine and the distance should be noted.

Sunday fartlek training will be – 1km warm up followed by 30 sec sprint, 2 mins recovery, repeat 8 times, complete hour with a 5km run.

Hopefully my rather buggered knee will hold together for tomorrow – it’s quite bruised and stiff after the weekends fall in the car park! Had it elevated all day today so hoping that this combined with the magic of neurofen will get me back out there!

Last Week Training update

Not quite as much as predicted – but quite enough. This week I aim to do less….

Day Hours Details Actual
Monday 1 Cycle trainer, hill training 1
Tuesday 0.5 Run to work. Fartlec training, 2.5km run. See details below. 0.4
Wednesday 1 Lunchtime endurance run 5-8km 0.5
Thursday 0.5 1500m Swim, steady pace. 0.6
Friday 1 Morning run - 8km, very easy endurance run. 0
Saturday 6 Mountain Biking trip in Wales 4
Sunday 6 Mountain Biking trip in Wales 3
TOTAL 16 9.5

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Coed y Brenin – what a rush!

I didn't manage a run on Friday morning – I was frankly too tired and needed to get packed for when my lift came to pick me up to take me off to Wales for the weekend. As it turns out – that was probably a good thing as I ended up driving as we couldn't get all the bikes on his car – so had to resort to mine and the roof bars.

Saturday morning came after the obligatory few ales on Friday night as we waited for all the other riders to turn up – and after a hearty breakfast provided by our very friendly and incredibly reasonable B&B – we set off for the trails.

First on the list on Saturday was “Llwybr y Temtiwr” or ‘Temtiwr’ Mar-28Trail – a red or difficult run with a low distance of 8.7km. This was our warm up trail and the start was amazing – a section of rock riding that had you out of your saddle, the core muscles working, lungs panting and frankly the shock was something that stayed with you for quite a while and set the tone of the weekend – this was technical hardcore riding – and none of us were really ready for what it had to deliver – but we were smiling nearly all weekend!


After the frankly mind blowing start you come to “Dream Time” – an area of forest singletrack that is undulating with bern turns at the end allowing fast flowing and grin inducing speed to be carried Mar-28-2through the turns. This was the bit of single-track that most of the guys wanted to revisit the next day – but there was more to come….

The rest of the ride was pretty good – some fairly hard climbs (220m climbing in all) produced an epic downhill – hitting over 40kmph at one point and back to the cafe for some tea and cheese toasties. Great warm up.

WalesMTB2009March-009After lunch we decided to do The Tarw Trail. This was another red – but 20km long instead and involved 500m of climbing in total – over a 3 hour period. This didn't start to well – as I did my now fast becoming custom falling off in the car park prior to actually getting on the trail! It was my only fall of the weekend – and it looked pretty innocuous – but I thought for a few minutes it had put paid to my weekend. I banged my right shin and put a triangular hole in it and banged my knee – which as I write is twice as big as the left one! A good effort – and I thought it was going to seize up – so decided to go for the ride anyway – and so off we went. The long climb up from the start was a killer – and my knee was complaining all the way – amazingly I got to the top and we hit an area called the Heart of Darkness! Right – it says it all. Didn't WalesMTB2009March-012enjoy that bit – too many tree roots – but we quickly left that for “Snap”, “Crakle” and “Pop”. Wow – these were great – really fast descents on fast rocky terrain which you just had to fly over. Real adrenaline riding which pitched the heart rate up and down like a yo-yo – and this was the theme of this ride.

Another major ascent up some fire-track and we hit the next descent - “Rocky Horror Show” – oddly names as it isn't rocky – but is a swooping madly fast single-track decent which for me was the best of the day easily. I just forgot about my breaks and held on for dear life and somehow emerged at the bottom intact (unlike another rider found earlier by some of our group with a broken collar bone!)

WalesMTB2009March-028 The rest of the ride was pretty good too – with more technical single-track and a few more climbs. And it all finished with a fairly technical section ending up on the fire road climb back up to the centre and a cup of tea before heading back to the B&B for a very hot shower and then a steak down and the Hotel in town. A few beers to wash that down and I was asleep just about as soon as my head hit the pillow that evening.

Sunday brought bright sunshine and some very sore backsides back onto the hill and we split the groups – some going to ride the Beast – a fairly epic ride – while those human members of the group went on to ride a bit of a mix and match between the first of Saturdays and some of the Dragon’s back trail as well.

WalesMTB2009March-033 The guys wanted to ride Dream Time again – and I must admit – with the dappled sunlight playing through the trees – it was something not to be missed. Great little ride – but better was to come. A fairly long trudge up a fire trail (and a long wait for Chris to realise he had gone WalesMTB2009March-047the wrong way and turn back round to us) and we descended into the trees along a single-track route that was brilliant. Suddenly the trees were gone but the track carried on until it hit a sharp left turn on rocks again ascending. Great riding and I thought it couldn't get much better – but then we joined the Dragon’s Back and  found “Gomez”, “Morticia”, “Pugsley”, “Lurch” and “Uncle Fester”. This was switch back descending fast rolling in your face adrenaline single-track of the highest degree and probably the best of the weekend. My heart was pumping like mad, and it was so fast and non stop that I just couldn't believe it was carrying on. Amazing ride – and after that I just couldn't see it being bettered – so I headed for tea and burgers and the cafe and then the long drive home. What and amazing experience – great trails – great company and great scenery. I really do love Wales.WalesMTB2009March-036

Thanks go to all the lads who came and to Chris for organising the B&B – top quality weekend. Who’s up for another one?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thursday afternoon swim - I'm knackered!

I was up at 4am this morning to get into work for 6:30am – so was pretty tired and required almost kicking out of the office to go down the road to the pool in the gym at the Barbican. I wasn’t going to go – after so many early starts I was just feeling knackered. I’m so glad I went – it was virtually empty and in fact for half the swim I was the only person in the pool – and virtually the whole swim I had the fast lane to myself. A pretty good swim – 1750m in 30 mins approx. Probably close to my best swim perversely – but the water seemed to refresh me really quickly – and now I am buzzing! I feel righteous!


Feel much more awake for all my meetings now for the rest of the day – so will definitely try to do that every week from now on. Not much more to say about a pool swim I guess – so I’ll shut up about that.


Hopefully it will soon be warm enough at Box Hill in order to get out in the lake and do some open water swimming. Must get myself a wetsuit!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wednesday Endurance Run (perhaps not!)

I went for a run today with one of the guys from my old team at work this lunchtime for an endurance run. He hadn’t run for quite a while – so I thought it was pretty safe to go out with him given I had been out quite a lot. This was to be a nice endurance run – slow steady and long. Cocked that up didn’t I!!!


Ed set off at what can only be described as ‘the pace of a whippet’! My HR shot up to 176 within the first 5 mins and given that I started at 83 – that was a fair climb in that period of time. To put this in perspective – he started off at 3.49 min kilometres. Looking back to Tuesday – that was my sprinting speed for the last sprint leg of the Fartlek training! Bloody Hell!


We ran across the road and down towards the Millennium Bridge, heading down the steps to the side and turning left towards Tower Bridge. It was windy and sunny – I overheated a little and took my hat off to cool down dodging the French school trips that had just come out of the Tower and headed towards the steps up to the Bridge itself.


I’ve never been on Tower Bridge to my knowledge. I’ve been past it a few times – but not on it – and running over it was a bit of an anticlimax. Seeing and hearing Big Ben the other day was quite something – but this was cramped, busy and with very little room to manoeuvre – for some reason it just didn’t feel as big a deal as it should. Ed was way out in front now – I saw him heading down the steps to the South Bank and followed. This was a little quieter and out of the sun – but we were running into the wind now. Not too bad – but an effort none the less. I couldn’t see Ed really now and when we reached London Bridge I headed up onto that and across, turning left at the end and headed back along the Watermans Walk down by the river to the Millennium Bridge and then back up to Paternoster Square.


6.3km in about 32 mins. Overall – not that amazingly fast – but I’d like to see what the first half was done in when I download the logs – bet it was pretty quick as I was feeling dead on the way back! Thanks for the run Ed – but I might find someone older and fatter to run with next time!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tuesday Fartlek Training....

Its 6:55am am I am already in London and ready to go. I actually feel pretty awake this morning and the sun is out, plus its only about 4 degrees – so perfect weather for a run. Today’s plan is to do some sprints interleaved with normal running – known as fartlek training (http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/news/article.asp?uan=722). I start with a nice steady (5.37 min km) run for 1km to warm up. Its cold – so fairly easy to run this morning as I need to stay warm in my thin clothing. 1km comes up awfully quick – I don’t remember it being that quick (guess that is the benefit of running 22km in one go – 1km seems like nothing) – and so comes the first sprint – a 30 second burst at 4.05 min per km. My Heart rate hits 181 at one point – so I am obviously pushing it at least and then back down to normal pace (5.48 min km) for 3 mins. I shortened the first recovery run as I had already covered quite a bit of ground and was worried that I wouldn’t get enough sprints in before hitting work (I was right!)


The second sprint ended up being up hill – (3.50 min km) – so I was working hard – but the HR only peaked at 173 – so perhaps I was getting used to it (didn’t feel like that!) – and after 30 seconds – which actually went by pretty quickly – down to 5.49 min km pace again – this time for a full 4 mins. I needed the extra min over the last recovery as that last sprint up the hill had hit my legs and lungs pretty hard.


Heading over the bridge near The Old Bailey I sprinted for the last time – I was planning 4 sprints – but I was pretty close to work now – and I hit 3.49 min per km for a full 40 seconds hitting 177 bpm HR. Not to shabby – and a 3 min warm down run at the end.


I’d hit work in under 20 mins (17 or so) – which wasn’t too shabby for 3.25km during a training session. God knows what speed that works out to – and it isn’t race pace I know as I can get to 5km in 23 mins – but hopefully this sort of training will improve my speed overall – and do you know – my legs are still burning while I am writing this 2 hours later – that has to be good!!!


Bycycle courier mishap

Yesterday I saw a collision between a cycle courier and a London black
cab. The cab was pulling left into the cycle lane which was rapidly
being filled by an undertaking cycle courier who flailed about,
knocked repeatedly on the cabs side, no doubt to the alarm of the
passengers, and then virtually threw down his bike and in what I can
only describe as a very practiced manouver, unclipped himself, jumped
off his bike while throwing it down and ran a few paces forward.
Neither bike, cyclist or cab seemed harmed. I cannot speak for the
suited and booted inside who will no doubt claim for some form of
shock that will never allow them to travel in anything less than a
bentley in future!

The reason of writing this is not to comment on the gymnastic ability
of the rider, which frankly rates up there with some of the beat pomel
horse dismounts I gave seen, but to comment on his bike. Odd though
this may seem for someone who rides every day in and our of the London
trafic taking thief lives in hand to deliver packages to lawyers and
bankers alike, but not only did the courier not have a helmet, he had
no brakes!

No brakes! On a bike. No wonder you have that disnount down to
perfection mate.

It was a single speed vehicle at both the back and rear and one can
only assume that it was essentially a fixed drive so that you slow by
putting reverse pressure on the pedals. is this even legal? Do bikes
not require at least one break?

What possesses someone to not have breaks on thier bike? Is it some
form of macho vanity? I can hear what my father would say "bloody
stupidity more like", and frankly I must admit this is my feeling at
the moment. But I still don't understand why it is done.

One thing I can say us that if we are short of gymnasts for the GB
team - we could do worse than approach the cycle couriers!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday Cycle Training

Today is supposed to be an hour of hill climbing and it was! Bloody hell that trax trainer generates some resistance! You can just look at the heart rate graph below to see where the hills were. I was knackered half way through and really wanted to stop – I probably went for it at the beginning and half way through a bit too much – hence the two big peaks. The first of which I was sat in the saddle as well – trying to keep the cadence at 80rpm which was killing me – by the second large peak at 30 mins I was almost screaming and the third was pretty much it – I had to change down to an easier gear at Mar-23that point. Remember – this is the bike – so normally you add about another 10 bpm onto these numbers to indicate what they would be in equivalent terms of running – so I essentially hit 176 (+10 = 186) – which would be 2 over my theoretical (and measured max). Good going I would say. Only 786 kcal however – and I blame the poor finish – I just couldn't manage any more – indicates that the endurance isn't there in the legs for cycling yet – I am fine up to about 40 mins or 20km – but after that the legs go. I guess that is fine for a sprint triathlon – but to be honest – I’d rather find 20km easy and be able to cruise it – so I am looking for more endurance – and later the speed – so I think a less hilly training run next time and more of the endurance with a lower heart rate.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Week Starting 23 Mar 09 – Training Plan

Day Hours Details
Monday 1 Cycle trainer, hill training
Tuesday 0.5 Run to work. Fartlec training, 2.5km run. See details below.
Wednesday 1 Lunchtime endurance run 5-8km
Thursday 0.5 1500m Swim, steady pace.
Friday 1 Morning run - 8km, very easy endurance run.
Saturday 6 Mountain Biking trip in Wales
Sunday 6 Mountain Biking trip in Wales
TOTAL 16  

Fartlec Training
Warm up over the first 1km, then 30 seconds sprint, followed by 4 mins recovery, repeat 4 times. Warm down.

The expected training for this week was 07:00 hours – but I am expecting to go quite a bit over this as I have a mountain biking trip to Wales leaving on Friday afternoon allowing for two decent biking days in the hills and some very tired legs…. Must remember to take the camera!

This week sees the entry of some speed training into the running again – so a few sprints to scare the pigeons on the way to work. I look forward to the faces of all the people in the market I often run through sedately as I start to sprint! I’m gonna look like such a prat….

Long Term Training Plan

This is for the next few weeks. It details the amount of training and the Period that I will be in – but not the specific training. While in essence you probably should go into this detail as well – I will try to keep my plan as basic as possible on the overall level and make the weekly ones a little more detailed.

Week Starting Races Type Period Hours
23-Mar-09 Build1 07:00
30-Mar-09 07:00
06-Apr-09 07:00
13-Apr-09 04:00
20-Apr-09 Build2 06:30
27-Apr-09 06:30
04-May-09 Stratford 220 Sprint Triathlon B 06:30
11-May-09 04:00
18-May-09 Big Cow Sprint C Peak 06:00
25-May-09 05:00
01-Jun-09 Blenheim Sprint A Race 04:00
08-Jun-09 Trans 03:00

Mothers day lethargy….

We had to get up at 6am this morning in order to drive back from the in-laws and get my son to his football game – so my energy levels haven't exactly been stellar today – but I managed to put up some coat hangars, clean one of the mountain bikes, hover up and cook tea. After that it was all I could do to keep my eyes open with the kids watching telly! I very much doubt that I will get on the bike this evening and this makes this weekend the least exercise weekend in a long long time. Still – I guess we all need some downtime and this week has really been mine.

So – lets try and make from tomorrow a little different and in order to do that – I’m making a plan. Hopefully fun2tritoonthis one is slightly better than one of Baldric's – and probably less cunning – but it involves planning out the next 6-7 weeks in order to build up to the Stratford 220 Sprint Triathlon on the 10th May. Each week will be planned as to its theme, and specific detailed week plans will follow on a Sunday hopefully for the next week. Thus today we will be looking at both the long term plan and this weeks plan in that order…

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A trip around Holmes Chapel

My daughter woke me up early this morning after a long drive up to
Holmes Chapel last night, and so I headed out for a run around what
turned out to be a cold and very sleepy village.

The sun was bright and the sky clear, but is was a comfortable 3 deg
above zero, perfect for a morning run. I run a figure of eight around
Holmes Chapel usually - it's about 3.6km for a single figure 8. I
managed the first quite easy, but I soon realized that there wasn't a
lot in the bank! I hadn't had a lot of sleep, not much to eat last
night and hadn't eaten this morning either. You would think by now
that I had learned the importance of making sure my body was fueled
before exercise - but aparently not.

The second lap was cut short and so only 6.5km was managed. Still, I
had a great 15 min stretch afterwards. The muscles underneath my
calves are really sore and I need to get these stretched out properly.

There were quite a few other runners out this morning heading in the
oposite direction, all seemed to be going faster than me. I managed to
sprint the last 500m of the run - I felt guilty for not running as
quickly as the others I had seen (no idea why)- and it reminded me
that at the moment I have no training plan.

Tomorrow I hope to put my training plan together to lead up to the
Stratford 220 triathlon. I'll publish it as soon as it is finished.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

And a gentle bike to finish

Sat on the bike for 45 mins and pushed out a nice easy 25 or 26km.

Some muscle ache but the knees were fine. Not sure about a run
tomorrow but if the weather is as nice as it was today then it would
be a shame not to.

A nice gentle recovery run

With the Half Marathon behind me, its now time to concentrate on what is on the horizon – and in 53 days we have the start of the Triathlon season with Stratford upon Avon hosting the Stratford 220 Sprint Triathlon. http://www.fun2tri.co.uk/Stratford-new/index.htm

So – I need to start concentrating on speeding up my 5km time with some interval training and some hill training, and getting on that bike and booting it. With the nights drawing out it is a perfect time to get out on the bike as well.

Onto today – given the excess exercise of the weekend – I thought a nice gentle recovery run today at lunchtime. I am working from home today as its Parents evening tonight – so I run around a local loop during the midday heat. Its really hot – and frankly great to be away from my computer screen for 50 mins.

8.5km in 48 mins. Not too bad as I was taking it easy. Here is the route: http://trailmapping.com/trips/post/mlsharrock/2009/03/8km-loop-run-out-from-rushden/

Not sure the altitude is correct – seems a “little” off at the beginning – but it was a nice run and the weather was great and my knees were only a little sore afterwards!

I quite fancy getting on the bike tonight as well. Shall see what happens later. Next week I will be returning with proper weekly training plans for the Triathlon training and we shall see how that goes.

Those nice photographers from Marathonphoto have taken about 10 pics of me at the Half Marathon this weekend – including some that show me quite knackered at the end! Will probably get the digital copies and post some up here for a giggle…

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

No training today

No training today - I'm still on painkillers for the hip but I am up and about. Its amazing the amount of damage 2 hours of running can do and it shows me that I was seriously unconditioned for the event. I now know that if I were to do this again (and I'm not saying I am going to!) then I would want to get quite a lot more 15 - 20km runs on tarmac under my belt and increase the weekly run distance total quite heavily.

Hopefully a run tomorrow, need to work from home as it is my sons Parents evening and otherwise I will need to leave work at silly o'clock in the afternoon to make it.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Very very sore!

I woke up this morning after a pretty awful night and actually struggled to get out of bed! Good lord - I was hoping that my legs were going to be ok - I had eaten properly after the run and nice and early as well - so I thought I'd probably be OK - but no - my knees and hips were shot to hell. I guess this is why all the books and mags tell you that if you are running a road race, practice on the road. The hard tarmac and longer distance had taken their toll - far harder than I expected. 

A few Neurofen and cocodamol later and I managed to get out of bed - but the stairs were a bit of a challenge. I took a trip to the spa and had an hour in the lovely warm bubbling water which eased the joints a bit. Had a bit of a swim without using my legs and then another half hour in the spa.

Now its the evening and my left hip is still pretty bad - but I reckon I might be OK to do something (other than running) tomorrow - so I'll probably sit on the bike after work tomorrow.

Its odd isn't it - as I have observed before - how your mind plays tricks on you. I'm already considering yesterday a great day. A friend of mine from work is already trying to get me to do another with him. He managed 01:59:44 for his half marathon yesterday  - which is pretty good. And the odd thing is - I am considering it. I'm pretty sure I said NEVER AGAIN.

Right - early to bed tonight as I need to get to work tomorrow - so hopefully with a few more cocodomol I might get some sleep tonight....

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Adidas Silverstone Half Marathon day...

The day of the race. A half marathon run 3 times around Silverstone. We arrived and parked up, my wife and her friend had both come to support and they both had the kids with them who were quite enthusiastic about watching the race. Its a fair walk in I noted to the race track from the car and though about that for the way back later with a bit of worry - but as it turned out later it probably was a blessing.
The family all went off to the grandstand to get a seat while I put on the iPod and chilled out to the sound of the Lost Prophets! Well - each to their own hey! I handed my bag into the bag station and headed for the start.

The starting area was organised into different race times - so at the front 1:15 all the way to the back at over 2:30. I stood on the 2:00 line with a bit of trepidation, knowing I had never managed such a distance on foot before and that the weather wasn't the type I preferred. I am a bit fan of running in the cold early morning when temperatures are sub 5 deg and you need to wear gloves. I love running in the snow. I generally love not overheating or cooking when I am running. Didn't get my wish today then! It was boiling, the sun was out for the full duration of the race and there was hardly a cloud in the sky. It was going to be a problem staying hydrated - and quite a few people suffered due to this.

The start was delayed by 15 mins due to congestion getting into the car-parks - I'm not really surprised with 10,000+ people coming and parking and none of the extra parking that they have at the gran prix. Still - it was pretty annoying at the start but everyone took it in their stride, although it did make for a few bumps later....
Its 12:15 and we are off. It starts slow, the number of people starting mean that where we are it starts as a gentle walk, however within 200m we are running. Already people are pushing past and this happened all the way around - mostly because those people arriving late had to start at the back or where they could essent ially get to on the start grid and many of them were pretty quick runners.

We head round the first lap and this seems to go really quickly, its the shortest of the three laps I think, but already my mouth is dry and I need extra fluid. Soon after we pass the start/finish line through the pits we head inward onto the inner track. This is the longer of the laps and it winds its way about the inner of silverstone, doubling back on itself numerous times. I became fairly disorientated at this time and couldn't reconcile where I was running with the map in my head. Still - I felt pretty strong and when at 9km we hit gravel rather than tarmac and then dirt I was pretty happy, however all too soon the 'off road' section ended and the hard black stuff returned.
We eventually headed out from this inner section and onto the outer ring. The track is substantially narrower here and when you get the faster people coming through they do tend to knock you a little more. By this tim e my head is sunburnt and I am so glad I am wearing my shades otherwise my eyes would be so sore.

I catch sight of the wife and kids as they wave as I head around the last loop of the outer circuit and onto the main circuit for the last lap. There is a water station here and its the last one, my wife tells me that she saw quite a few people struggling here dehydrated and asking where the next water station is. I had passed quite a few St Johns Ambulance people by now treating people for dehydration etc - and loads of people walking. I ca
nt blame them - it was roasting and fairly relentless.
6km to go. I can do this. One lap around the main circuit in the reverse of what we h
ave just done. I'm feeling pretty god at this stage and looking at my watch realise that if I put in a quick last 5km then I could be well under the 2:00 mark that I set myself. And so I look to up the pace a little. Th
e next 2km seem to take and age and I realise that there is no additional response from my legs. There are no more water or lucozade stations for this final 4km and my legs are like lead. Well - to be ho
nest - they have been like lead all the way around - they have been pretty unresponsive and heavy all the day - probably due to the stupid bike ride
yesterday - but there we go - no point in moaning about it.

Only 3km to go and I feel like I am going backwards. People are passing me now and loads of people are walking. Only pure stubborn determination prevents me from walking. I feel awful. This last 5km has just been amazingly difficult. I cannot
believe the difference between 15 and 20km - it is a gaping chasm that I am finding so difficult to get over. How the devil will my friends manage in the Paris and London Marathons - this wi
ll only be half way for them. My admiration for them goes up several notches.

I can see the finish line. There is 1km to go, and I am still plodding along. I want to sprint to the line in a blaze of glory, but my legs are stuck in the rhythm they have been doing for the last 3km and wont be budged from it. They would be happy to stop, but there is no way they can be convinced to go any faster what-so ever. I don't remember this bit being downhill on the first lap - but it is jolly well up hill on this last bi
t! Its only a few degrees - but it feels like I am climbing a mountain. My teeth are literally gritted, the breathing is no longer controlled but ragged and haphazard, I get the occasional stitch and my knees hurt
like hell.

Sheer bloody mindedness drags me over the line in 02:01:45. I'm outside my target time by nearly 2 minutes. Am I upset? Am I hell - I am over the bloody moon! Over that last 5km I simply didn't think I was going to finish - I thought that I would be one of the casualties in the St Johns Ambulance being fed glucose solution and with an ice pack - but no - I dragged myself through and am as happy as larry!

When I think about it - thats not su
ch a bad time given the hot day the sunburn and the silly ride yesterday. I am pretty pleased with it.

There were still people crossing the line an hour later as we headed for the car. Its these people actually who are amazing. They often do it for charity and haven't conditioned themselves at all but drag themselves around as they dont want to let down the kids with leukemia or the people in africa without water etc. My hat off to everyone who ran today whatever the reason.

Great day - but at this point I NEVER EVER EVER want to do another half marathon!
So - what is next? Well - in two weeks time we are in North Wales at the Mountain Bike Centre near Dollegau to ride the black trails and see how we do! A weekend of fun packed madness no doubt - and hopefully a lot more enjoyable that that 20km I just ran!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Day before the big race….

I got a little bored today! Its supposed to be a nice rest day when I lounge about and load up with carbs. But I got bored! I’m not very good at just sitting around these days and I seem to be conditioned to exercise at the weekend – so I decided to go for a small gentle bike ride. Ahh – what’s one of them?

It was very windy and I found myself hunched over the bars powering into the wind at 40kmh and realising that I was meant to be taking it easy. Oops – made a mess of that didn’t I?

An hour and 30km later with sore tired legs I returned home. I had really enjoyed the ride – but hours later now as I write this – my legs are burning and I know I’ve overdone it. So – load up with carbs and get ready for tomorrow – whatever happens it isn't going to be pretty!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Carb loading and no more beer!

I am beginning to get nervous now, not long to go and still hoping to break the 2 hour mark for the half marathon. Today and tomorrow are carb loading days I guess – and detox from alcohol etc. so not even a glass of wine for me tonight.


Breakfast was hash browns – somehow I convinced myself that they were good for me because of the carbs in potatoes! What the hell – they were lovely, and the bacon that went with them was even better! What a lovely treat….


I was hoping to get to bed early tonight – but unfortunately have to host a conference call at midnight tonight which kind of puts that idea out of the window – so hopefully I will get a bit of a lie in tomorrow. Probably not going to go swimming as I don’t want to pull anything or injure myself or use up any of the carbs that are being loaded!


Well – I should be ok – it’s a half marathon after all not the full thing – so I am fairly confident of finishing bar an injury – but at the end of the day – even though I keep telling myself that I am not competitive – I bloody well am and desperately want that 2 hour finishing time! Based on the runners world calculators I am borderline 2 hours – so here is hoping……

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Did I enjoy that or not?

After yesterdays lovely run I decided to get up early again (4am) and travel into the Capital to get to the office in time to have an early morning run along the Thames again before work. Great idea and I was really looking forward to it.

I set off from the office at 6:40 and headed down to the river, unlike yesterday it was overcast and quite a bit warmer. I think my hat and Helly Henson long sleeved top were probably overkill and I certainly started to overhead pretty quickly. Within 5 minutes my legs were aching and on top of this unlike yesterday I was using my iPod and listening to music so couldn’t hear the water. I absolutely hated this run until the last 5 mins for some reason the endorphins kicked in at that point and I started enjoying it probably as my legs had become numb and some hard rock came over the earphones.

I had a warm down on the treadmill for 5 mins followed by a good stretch and went for a shower. What was odd was the thought process I went through afterwards I found myself saying to myself that I really enjoyed that run, that it was a good run etc. I realised then that I was talking absolute rubbish! It was an awful run I hated it. So what was my head doing? Is this some human trait to cover up and make you forget hardship? I consider myself a reasonably intelligent bloke but was very surprised to be caught out by my own brain playing this kind of trick on me. Even now although logically I know the run was awful my feelings for it are warm and fuzzy. All very odd.

Well that’s all the running done now until the race on Sunday. Another 5km in 28min under the belt. Perhaps a light swim on Sunday but apart from that the next run will be 22km round the Gran Prix circuit of Silverstone. Good luck to all those running in the same race and if you see some fat bloke flat out in the gravel trap at the side give him a kick and tell him that hes nearly finished and to get a move on!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I have found a reason for running!

I found myself in the office at 6am this morning and decided that as I hadn’t managed a run yesterday evening as hoped that I should go for a decent one this morning. It was dark, but there was a light in the sky as the sun was coming up so I headed down past Blackfriars to the river and decided to run along Victoria Embankment. I haven’t really run down here before and certainly not this early in the morning. It is amazingly peaceful, a few cars although you block them out, a few joggers and a couple of cyclists. That’s it. And you can hear the river. There is something magical about the sound of moving water even if it is the Thames! And then there was the light on the buildings. Sunrise is a magical time, but when you are out running and the sun comes up to hit the London skyline and Big Ben suddenly shines in a golden glow of early morning rich almost treacly light then I guess you realise that rather than being a chore as this running seems to have become it is a pleasure, a rare treat no less to see these things and experience them with very few other people around you.

Ran down to Westminster Bridge, across it and then up the other side of the river passing under the still slow moving London Eye, eventually crossing again at Blackfriars Bridge and then back to the office. Great run something like 5km I guess in about 30 mins. I have to say that I must come down one morning and do this again but a little further Id love to run all the way down to Vauxhall Bridge and back up Albert Embankment that should be quite nice. I have walked the other way to Wapping before and that could also be a nice run but I think this way was probably better.

I was walking pas the Axe building on Warwick Lane next to the Old Bailey yesterday and was quite surprised to find privet hedge clippings littering the pavement. Obviously the top of this building has some form of topiary on it and this is another thing that I guess running brings you not hedges but seeing things that you otherwise wouldn’t see. When I run to the office I often take some random odd route taking some left that I have never been down before in order to lengthen the run. It is this very act that brings me face to face with a London that frankly I just otherwise wouldn’t see. I love discovering new places, new routes and new sights and I guess this mornings sights alone have reminded me of why I do, at least when in the act, love running.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesday training - loosing interest...

So training today is limited it’s a bloody horrible day outside so I am hoping to get a run in this evening after work. Just going to be a small one today I am probably taking this tapering week a bit far but at the moment I am still sick of running and cannot wait for this half marathon to be over and done with. It is now beginning to take over home life a bit I am moody, my son is annoyed as he misses his footy match at the weekend as the wife is coming to watch at Silverstone and my wife has frankly had enough of me moaning about not getting enough swimming in!

This has certainly put me off training for the London Marathon next year anyway. And I guess I know I am probably not IronMan material at the moment!

Bus driver training applicable elsewhere?

Yesterday I was reading a piece in The Times written by Matthew Parris, a writer I quite admire for his political commentary and dry whit, so I was surprised (although I am sure I shouldn’t be) to find that he had written about London Bus Driver Training. Not a small piece either, but a full page minus the obligatory cut price airline advert for the credit crunch age.

Matthew had not only boarded a bus for a day to see how the real drivers do it (pretty sure most of us do this every day) but also gone to Willesden to partake in a session on the Simulator operated by Transport for London. He emerged with what can only be described as a sense of wonder that bus drivers can manage the real thing after mounting the kerb, pinning a cyclist and generally forgetting to indicate.

I was thinking about this last night as I have ridden my bicycle in London a fair few times over the past 10 years and unfortunately been knocked off twice, once with reasonable injuries such as a dislocated shoulder, chipped bone and an altogether far too close shave down one side of my face! However none of the incidents I have been involved in were caused by busses and yet there is a large forum out there that blames bus drivers for many of the accidents involving cyclists in London and reading this piece I wondered if there was any truth in it given the difficulty that Matthew found controlling such a vehicle.

Oddly enough it turns out that busses are certainly not the main cause of fatal accidents involving cyclists in London, or perhaps this isn’t so surprising when you think that Transport for London has invested so much in the training of their drivers. They account for only 3% of these accidents according to studies performed by Camden Health Authority. Much larger that this is the stats for heavy goods vehicles. These account for over 58% of the fatal accidents in inner London according to the same study. Bendy busses don’t really even figure although given the fact that a double decker is so hard to drive I guess it can only be time until one of these figure in some form of side swipe injury.

Could it be therefore that HGV drivers could benefit from the same training that Bus Drivers in London get? Would a simulator help?

I am certainly not stating that all HGV drivers are rubbish or that they are ignorant of other traffic on the roads, neither am I saying that sometimes the cyclist is their own worst enemy, anyone stopping at the lights outside the old bailey at 8am will see tens of cyclists at a time sometimes jumping the lights or swerving to avoid a car or taxi that has right of way. All I am saying is that perhaps professional drivers could as they spend far more time operating a deadly machine than the rest of us benefit from some additional training such as those that are licensed to drive the public in the big red taxis in London? It might not of prevented my accidents in London but then again it might of, and who knows it might swing those stats about a bit.

Monday, March 09, 2009

A rest day in hell....

Why is it that when it comes to my rest days the sun is out?

The hell I refer to is a floor to ceiling window with a view of grass, trees and the pavement leading away from this office all dappled in spring sunlight with long lazy shadows describing changes in temperature and view that all together is one of the most galling views I can get. Why? Because today is a rest day and these perfect conditions cannot be taken advantage of.

Should one forgo the rest day in order to take advantage of such opportunities or should we be faithful to the training schedule and keep to the knowledge that the muscles need to repair and recharge after a weekend of exercise? Its less that seven days until the half marathon I know but more importantly how, post this race (if I can call it a race) should this be dealt with when the triathlon training is in full swing and the long distance running behind me for the moment?

I love running in good weather as I am sure everyone does but spring is just one of the best seasons when it is cold enough not to overheat but bright enough to don the sunglasses and feel alive. Should I take advantage of this feeling at the expense of my muscles? Perhaps I am not training enough in order for this to be an issue (although Monday and Tuesday this week felt different).

Personally I wish I had brought my running gear with me today, I would happily move the rest day to a rainy tomorrow and run today in fine sunshine in the knowledge that even if it is doing a little damage to my legs, its doing far more good to my head!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

An evening ride

Evening. God I can't wait for the summer! It is pitch black and freezing cold outside, it's blowing a gale and for some reason the wife thinks it would be good for me to go out on the bike! Perhaps she is trying to claim on the insurance?! Anyhow, I fix the lights on the bike, pump up the tyres, put two layers of clothing on, a face mask and don my silver helmet (the wife says I look scary now!) and precede to step out the door with my trusty road bike.

The cold hits my arms straight away and I realise I am going to have to keep the effort up in order to stay warm. This isn't going to be a long ride....

The car drivers out this evening are a peculiar bunch in that they all seem surprised to see another road user, especially one that has the audacity not to have a petrol motor. The fail to indicate, rev their engines behind me, flash me, shout at me and generally behave in the way I have become accustomed to people behaving to others in this country after several pints of lager and a curry! What a terrible shame that the evening motorist is so intolerant. I wonder what causes these outbursts?

The lack of indicating I can put down to either laziness or just plain ignorance of the rules of the road, also a lack of understanding of how this effects a cyclist, having to slow down especially and then stand up out of the saddle to get going again, loosing an emense amount of speed and momentum etc.

The almost proactive bulling of cyclists however I cannot truly understand. Is this an knee jerk reaction by the motorist when he finds someone doing something that he feels guilty that he isnt? Someone making an effort to keep fit where he just piles on the pounds from the pies and ales? Probably not, but I would feel better if it were this simple. Could it be that there is an undercurrent in this society that simply doesnt like people who are different or cause them to divert from their predesposed route due to this difference?

My theory therefore is that motorists who dislike cyclists do so simply because they need to make the effort to go around them, and unlike a parked car, are doing something that they dont.

Anyway - hit a flipping pot hole on the way back and have probably damaged the bearings on my front wheel - making a bit of a strange sound now. That will be an expensive ride!

Wasnt far - just 15km in 30 mins - not too bad in the dark and on the undulating road. Max speed 41.4km/hr. Probably wont go out in the dark at night again for a while....

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Racing the rowers!

We arrived at the gym with kids in tow to all do our individual exercises, Kerys went off swimming to do a 'quick' 2.5km in the pool (nutter), Cai and Nia went off to the kids area to run amok with the paint and I decided that a long run was in order.

I am reasonably worried about the half marathon next weekend, I've been having second thoughts, I don't want to run as much as I did and frankly I just cannot wait until I can go back to less running and more cycling. My knees are complaining from the constant pounding, and I think I've just run myself out. I know now that I am not a runner in essence - it is purely there at the end of the race that I have fallen for - not the major element but a part. It is an essential part certainly, but it is juxtaposed by two non impact elements in the ride and swim which allow the training for a triathlon to be much less injury prone and slightly easier on the knees etc. I have also noticed that I am not loosing any weight since I started concentrating on the running. This is a little odd - but I am pretty sure its the diet that I cannot be bothered to follow which is another indication that I am not enjoying my mainly running training.

Well - I still have the half marathon to get over - so I decided to run 10km today, so I set off on the route that I did last time I was at the gym but staying on the tarmac this time and not heading cross country. It was a pretty nice run down by the river and on the way out the rowers were out in their sculls, pulling along the river at a fair old rate of knots. I carried on past the man made kayak centre with its white water course carrying goodness knows how much rampantly flowing liquid per minute to the mass enjoyment of the rubber suited people in their plastic capsules. I carried on past the turnings I have made in the past and headed straight up the road towards Little Houghton. The road shortly began to wind up the hill and my heart rate began to raise while my pace decreased, but I felt fairly good. It was a fairly nice day and I was pretty cool, I wasn't overheating at all and my legs felt OK. This was a slow pace - but one I could maintain for quite some time.

Eventually I headed down a small lane that took me to the stables and then onto a public footpath that headed down a dirt track and back towards the white water centre. I knew at this point that 10km wasn't going to be the end of it - and by the time I hit the start of the river I was at nearly 11km, the furthest I had ever run. Starting along the river the boats were out again and in full flow. An eight squad glided past me - there was no way to keep up with that - but a pair came up alongside and I thought I might stand more of a chance. I increased my pace and they actually started to drop behind me a little, I expect they were taking it easy!

Getting back to the gym I had managed just under 15km in an hour and a half and my knees were pretty sore. Well - I still wanted a swim - so I also managed 750m in the pool in just under 20 mins and that felt pretty good - but I was absolutely starving afterwards. Early to bed tonight I expect for me now - and I expect to run very little this week to save my legs for the race at the weekend.... 

Friday, March 06, 2009

Am I just lazy?

I haven't run at all for the last two days. Again my legs are killing
me - or is it all in my head? There is little over a week left until
the half marathon at silverstone and I seem to almost be loosing
interest in the running. I am desperate to get back to triathlon
training and cut down on yherunning and this the injuries.

I think next season I'll need to be a little more careful about the
races I choose. I have probably overdone it a bit for my first season.

Still - I will try to get out for a run tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Running too soon?

Is it possible that two days isn’t enough rest after a 10km race? I know that recovery time is important and that a race is more intense than a training run but I thought two days would be enough. Still when I started to run today my calves and shins were so sore it was almost painful.

I managed 5km but I am wondering seriously if I should have and will probably rest tomorrow as well now or just do some upper body workout. They are still incredibly sore and the front of the legs is almost shin splint type pain.

I think I need a nice massage! Fat chance of that!

You may have noticed the lack of a plan this week. Well that is because I haven’t written one yet and not sure that I will. I don’t want to push myself too hard especially if I haven’t recovered from the race yet and frankly it’s a week and a half until the half marathon so any training is likely to be purely from a confidence level etc. With that in mind I am starting my taper week early might get a long run in on Saturday.

I reviewed my race data from the Suunto watch yesterday and it may explain why I am finding it a long recovery the watch tells you if you are over training etc and you would expect a certain amount of this during a race right but my stats pushed it right into the upper boundaries. So I was obviously determined around the course but not as fit as I should have been in order to do that time.

Right now does anyone have some painkillers?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

No training today

A combination of a long day in the office and some legs that are
frankly still sore after the weekend means that I just cannot bring
myself to train today so am pulling another rest day.

My legs actually do feel pretty sore - I am a little surprised by that
but I did walk from the station yesterday quite quickly and again
today - so perhaps they simply aren't rested enough. It's amazing the
amount of time your body requires to recover when your age starts

It's also very windy and wet so the prospect of a run when I get home
from work at 9pm tonight is frankly rather grusome. So, a run tomorrow
morning is the order of the day I should think and perhaps a bike ride
in the evening.

I am planning a nice long 12 to 15km run at the weekend- my only
problem with that is both time and boredom. I find that after 5km I
start getting bored and struggle to keep up the interest. Any ideas on
this front would be appreciated!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Overall series results

Well, the official results are in for the overall series of multi
terrain races run by Just Racing Uk. I came 10th overall in the vets
on points - so that's pretty good against all the people running 5, 10
and 15km, especially as there were a lot of good vets in the longer

I have to say that I am pretty happy with that. I would probably have
come inside the top 6 if I had stuck to the 5km however as my second
split time alone on the 10km would have got me inside the top 10 in
the standalone 5km race. But no regrets, I am really happy to have run
the 10km now as the next stop is 22 in just under two weeks time. The
big question is, what time should I go for on the half marathon?

It's a difficult issue when you haven't run that far before. Sub 2
hours is what my mind is telling me, especially as this is the first
time I will have run for that amount of time.

No doubt I will make a decision this weekend after my long run.

Here is to a good training week, blue skies and sunshine this morning
with an autumn feel. Makes you feel alive.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Sunday Race Day - 10km

Irchester and Race Day. 10km today - my first 10km race and I am nervous. This is the last in the multi-terrain series run by Just Racing UK. They have done a great job - running the last one in snow, but the weather for this one is just about perfect. No sun, cool, not raining but damn underfoot that will create plenty of mud for the run. Perfect.

The last two 5km races I started at the back of the pack and ended up running through a lot of slower runners - so this time I decided to go closer to the front. Big mistake! A larger turnout this time meant that there were a lot of runners a lot faster than me and I spent the first 20 mins being contently overtaken by faster runners. Its a little demoralising. But I managed to get behind someone running at a decent pace and stay with them for the rest of the first lap.

I must admit - when it came to half way I was wondering if I had made the right choice to step up to the 10km. I was pretty tired, I was well over my 5km pace and I was looking at a 59 min finish - the same as my best training run so far - so I was a little depressed. I picked up some water at the water station and took two sips. The difference this made was amazing. All of a sudden I felt much better and thought that I could increase my pace and low and behold I could.

The second 5km was so much better the first. No stuggling, but lots of heavy breathing and no following other runners. I decided with 2km to go to up my pace considerably and my HR started hitting 185 - my theoretical MAX! Oh well - its a race!

Onwards - I managed to maintain this pace for the whole of the rest of the race - which certainly surprised me - and the second 5km was completed in 23:34 - better than my 5km stand alone time previsouly of over 24 mins.

I finished in 51:47 which is certainly better than I had hoped for - but it also shows that if I run at a slightly higher pace through the first half of the race - I can probably better this time and get under 50 mins.

Great race - great race team - great day. Loved it. Half Marathon in 2 weeks - bring it on!